Chapter Fifteen - The Next Day
Translation Copyright 2001 by Morris Rosenthal
Translations from Hebrew
Copyright 2001 by Morris Rosenthal
All Rights Reserved
A Righteous Love
By Sarah Faiga Menkin - Published in Hebrew in Vilna 1880
The next day Finalia arose in the morning, even though she was bone tired, because although she wanted to rest for the remainder of the night she hadn't closed her eyes and sleep was stolen from her. Despite this she got up in the morning to clean her dress and to repair it, because the loops [Ex. 26:5] and the flowers were torn and loosened from their places. The whole day she sat as if on burning coals, but when the appointed hour approached she went to Albert's house.
"Are you well, honorable maiden?" when he opened the door and saw that it was Finalia seeking permission to come in. "Are you well?" he repeated his question, "After you exhausted your strength [Ps. 71:9] last night dancing in the ball?"
"How are you?" answered Finalia, "Haven't I already forgotten last night? And how is Victor?"
"Fine, he lodged here with me last night."
"He stayed in your house?"
"In my house."
"Were you standing in the street the whole time I was at the ball?"
"The whole time."
"Was Victor happy when he saw all of the honors I was given by the minister?"
"Victor didn't tell me this, but the from the expression on his face he wasn't rejoicing over it."
Finalia didn't ask any more, knowing he was a man of his word. She sat on the chair that Albert made ready for her, and Albert went to his work room. She sank so deep in thought that she didn't see Victor when he came into the house, but when Victor approached her and asked how she was, she came to, and answered, "I'm well. How are you my dear?"
"Now I'm fine."
"Why only now?"
"Because I am seeing you."
"Didn't you also see me yesterday?"
"And who told you that I wasn't fine yesterday?"
"Your own mouth."
"How is that?"
"By your saying, 'Now I'm fine.'"
"Your logic is worthless because in your wellbeing is also mine, only I forgot that you number my words. How could I not be happy when seeing you honored and happy and your face beaming with joy"
"I imagine that we were under the same shadow of well-being yesterday, as one light illuminates for both of us or one cloud casts shade for both of us," said the maiden and blushed.
"Verily when the cloud casts shade for me and darken the evening stars [Job. 3:9], at the same time there was bright light for you, luxurious light," said Victor.
"And from where do you get this?" the maiden asked him, and her entire face became white as if were covered by snow.
"My eyes showed me."
"Weren't my earliest words to you that a man's eyes will always mislead him? That sometimes a man will walk in the dark and the black of night, but the darkness won't obscure his way. And sometimes a man will walk under the blue skies on a bright day, with the sun standing like a clear body in the heavens [Ex. 24:10], and he will grope along the wall like a blind man because a dark black cloud will fog him all around." Thus the maiden answered, and two teardrops like pearls rolled down her lily cheeks. She tried to hide them from Victor and she turned her face away from him. From him? From a faithful lover like Victor she would hide? He saw them and he understood, but he remained silent in order to hear how she would finish. She continued, saying, "Today you began speaking to me in riddles, so I answered you the same way. But we have already spoken too much in riddles, and I know where hints [Jb. 15:12] can lead. Now, you will judge which of us is right. What else could I do? The minister invited us to the ball. Could I have contradicted his will after the life and kindness he did for us and will do for us? Believe me, being in the minister's palace yesterday was like being in prison for me. All of the honors and majesty are nothing to me. I would chose to live with you in a poor tent rather than to be the lady of his palace. Is this nothing to you? Now you judge who is guilty, and who is destroying our happiness over mists. If my life is dear to you, please stop saying hurtful things [Pr. 18:8, 26:22] like these because they go to my soul."
Victor stood for a few moments gazing at her. The energetic words that came from the depths of her heart struck his heart [1S. 24:5, 2S. 24:10], because he had made her miserable [1S. 1:6]. Then he said, "Forgive me my beauty, that I was foolish and sinned against you. Verily the purity of your heart and the uprightness of your soul are know to me, and I never though that you would break your word. But if you could feel the hot jealousy of a man when he see his soul's beloved in the arms of another when he cannot approach her, then you wouldn't jump all over me. Therefore, forgive me and don't cry. Your tears are melting my heart."
"I forgive you," said the maiden and gave him her hand. "Now if you would only tell me why you called me here, in saying I would hear some secret news."
"Behold, I will tell you, and ask your advice according to your clear intellect, because it concerns our happiness and our future. Know that in a couple days I must leave Milano."
"In a couple day! Why?"
"Evil men who are jealous of my happiness are conspiring to kill me [Gn. 37:18], so I must stay ahead and flee from them."
"Where did you learn this?"
"Four days ago a man who I don't know came to my dwelling. He appeared to be one of the rabble, and he kept looking about my room until I feared to be in one house with him. 'Don't be afraid,' he said to me, 'Because I'm not here as your adversary.' 'Thank you,' I replied, 'But do I have adversaries and enemies?' 'A youth like you doesn't yet know the ways of the world and its deceits. Do you think that only evildoers have enemies? Know that an upright man has many more enemies than an evildoer, because the criminals don't do evil to those of their own kind. Unless, that is, they don't find enough to satisfy them in the houses of the upright, in which case they will harvest the vineyards of the wicked [Job. 24:6]. But you are a decent man, so they will divide you up first. You must know that wicked men have decide to kill you when they find you, and you must watch your every step. If you don't distance yourself from this city, then your blood is on your head, and I will be very distressed for your earthly existence.' 'And who are you, worthy one? Tell me your name so I can thank you for the goodness of your heart.' 'My name is hidden from you,' he said, 'But you will soon know it. In order that you believe my words I will give you a sign. Know that the men who came from France, in pursuit of the father of your beloved, are similarly conspiring against you to kill you. Therefore I warn you again. Question me no further even though I know much more than this. In addition, tell Finalia to beware of them.' When he finished speaking he left me, but today in the street I met him and he said, 'You're still here? Know that it is your life.' He said just that and went. What do you think?"
"What do I think? Flee for your life, quickly and expeditiously. Even though is hard for me to be parted from you, your life is very dear to me."
"Thank you, my beauty, on your generous words. But how will we proceed with exchanging letters?"
"Send them to Albert's house. So where are you going?"
"To the city of my father. Let me ask you that when I send you a letter then you reply very quickly. That way my heart will comforted from afar, and I will be satisfied when I awake with your image."
"I will do as you say."
"Thank you. Now tell me what you think about the man who came to warn me. I think he was sent by my enemies in order to distance me from you."
"I think that there is no fraud in this, but describe the man's appearance to me."
"He was short with a sad, handsome face."
"He is Ezariya [Name means "He will help her."], Yechidiel's servant. He is a man of faith and upright in his way, and he hates his master with a consuming hatred. Surely there was a treacherous assembly in his house planning evil against us. Because of his anger he will be a protector for me always [Amos. 1:11], and he came out of the goodness of his heart to warn you."
"Where do you know him from?"
"I saw him in Goldberg's house when he came seeking his master, and when he didn't find him, Henrietta and I held him up in order to learn about the nature of the Galician."
"You could be right," Victor said, "But the time has come for us to part because tomorrow morning I will leave the city with all that I love. But why are you crying? Will you be the first [they will fall on]?"
"You are right, my dear,' said the maiden, "But how many are the wounds that love inflicts, and how countless are the victims. I am afraid that I will be the first sacrifice to be completely consumed on the altar [Lev. 6:2]."
Victor laughed lightly at her simple heart and said, "Don't me afraid, my precious, because you will live in joy and happiness and you will be brought to a pleasure palace. Now live well and don't be sad."
"May the Lord bring success in your journey and protect you from all evil," said the maiden in a sad voice as she rose from her place. Victor also stood and they said goodbye to Albert and left. Victor walked with Finalia until her father's house, and then they parted. Finalia stood in the doorway of her father's house watching after Victor until he disappeared from her eyes.